You may already consider your content marketing efforts to be successful — according to CMI’s 2014 research, 32 percent of enterprise content marketers do just that. But think about how much better they could get if you take a step back to ask: What have we learned in the last year that could make our content marketing strategy even more effective?
“Constructive change builds on what has come before, rather than simply starting over again from scratch,” said Demand Media’s Casey Reader in an article that published on her company’s Chron: Small Business site. Creating (or sustaining) a culture of innovation for your content marketing program requires a strategic and proactive approach — as opposed to reactively adapting when disruptive changes have been forced upon you. In an ever-evolving industry like marketing, the truth is that if you are standing still, you might actually be falling behind without even knowing it.
An added benefit of instituting purposeful, constructive change as part of your content marketing strategy is that, as Reader explains, every successful shift, no matter how small, has the potential to lead to additional opportunities for positive changes that may be even more beneficial.
With this spirit of innovation in mind, we wanted to share some evolutionary insights from a few of CMI’s blog contributors, Online Training instructors and Content Marketing World speakers. Here’s what they had to say in response to our question: What’s one thing you personally believed about content marketing that you no longer consider to be true, and what made you change your mind?
“Great stuff” isn’t enough
I used to think this was all about simply creating great stuff. It’s not. It’s about creating great stuff that is also unique and is also well-marketed. Just because today’s “best practice” is being espoused by a popular blogger doesn’t mean you should obsess over trying it. You should still try to be unique and think for yourself. When you actively market your content, you want a hope and a prayer of actually being noticed and, more importantly, being remembered. —Jay Acunzo, Director of Platform & Community, NextView Ventures | @Jay_zo
Dethrone the king and put him to work
Content isn’t “king.” It’s a product. And, it’s about time we started managing it the same way we do physical products we manufacture and sell. —Scott P. Abel, Content Marketing Strategist, The Content Wrangler, Inc. | @scottabel
Don’t let your content become a commodity
I used to believe that more content seen by more people defined success. I’ve realized this is false. In fact, the inverse has proven to be true. It’s important to combat information overload. Instead of trying to be part of the steady stream of commodity content, I’ve focused on garnering access to a high-quality audience that makes my consistently delivered content part of the information they want to consume. —Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping | @TPLDrew
Avoid premature publication
It used to be that content marketers had to publish content multiple times a day. Today, that’s no longer the case. If an article isn’t ready to go, the best move a smart content marketer can make is to hold it until it’s error-free and 100-percent ready to be published. —Sunil Rajaraman, Co-founder and CEO, Scripted | @subes01
Consistency trumps quantity
I used to say you had to create new content at least three times a week. Today I believe it’s less about the quantity and more about consistency. If you can create really valuable content once a week, commit to doing it on the same day at the same time. Or once a month or once a quarter. Just make the commitment and stick with it. —Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc. | @ginidietrich
SEO? Not so much
I’m placing less importance on SEO than ever before. Google has made good on its promise to reward high-quality, original content, and I’m seeing even small businesses being rewarded in search-engine rankings because they’ve consistently published great content in their niche. —Sarah Mitchell, Content Marketing Consultant, Global Copywriting | @globalcopywrite
Buyers bounce around on their journey
The traditional view of buying stages and buying journeys are proving to be less relevant. Yet more and more content marketers are overemphasizing this. It is more important to understand situational contexts of networks than to focus only on the journey, which does not happen in linear or neat stages. Producing content according to neat stages may put you out of touch. —Tony Zambito, Leading Authority Buyer Persona | @tonyzambito
Sometimes, it is about the product
I was once a huge advocate of the theory that content marketing should never be about the product. Now I say that product promotion and product content do play an important role in the overall content marketing strategy. I learned it was 10 times harder to get buy-in from the sales or product leaders if I told them product promotion doesn’t work or it should be eschewed. I also now understand better how product-based content and promotion are essential to those in the target audience as they approach the decision. Now, when I discuss content marketing with a prospective client, I am careful to distinguish the difference between educational/helpful content that’s used to engage with the audience and to build credibility and top-of-mind awareness, and product-based content that’s used to close the business at the bottom of the funnel.—Bruce McDuffee, Interim Content Director at Boeing Digital Aviation Marketing consultant, Knowledge Marketing for Industry (KMI) | @brucemcduffee
Check your production pretension
I believe the notion that “good” content has to be highly polished and uber-professional is a dangerous assumption. Sometimes, people just want/need a simple blog post or product review or Instagram video. When we fall back on production value as the prism through which we view value, we get awfully close to the advertising business that we are trying to run away from as content marketers. —Jay Baer, Author; President, Convince & Convert | @jaybaer
Increase your social acceptance
I used to think that Twitter was kind of silly. I thought that it should be just a minor feature within a bigger social network.
I underestimated the importance of social media for a few years, but I’ve learned my lesson. Now, I’m never negative or pessimistic about something new until I see evidence. I try new things more quickly. This is why I have a smaller network on Twitter but a bigger network on Google+. —Andy Crestodina, Principal, Strategic Director, Orbit Media | @crestodina
Even epic content needs the right support
I used to believe that, “If you build it, they will come.” That’s simply not true. Great content does not mean you will get the viewership it deserves. In content marketing, there’s nothing more painful that spending hours or even days on a piece of valuable content, just to see it fall flat. You need to market your marketing. —Pawan Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Curata | @TweetsFromPawan
Content Marketing World 2014 is nearly here. There are still a few spots left, but time is running out, so register today!